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10/15/19

2019 National Public Opinion Survey of Iranian Americans

Press Release by Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA)

Poll shows concerns over discrimination, personal safety, and potential U.S. military conflict with Iran


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Washington, DC - Today (October 11, 2019), the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) released the findings of its 2019 National Public Opinion Survey of Iranian Americans, which reveals that tensions in both the wider U.S. society and between the United States and Iran are felt by the Iranian American community.

More than three-quarters of respondents are worried about increased discrimination against Iranian Americans, and (63%) report that they have personally experienced or know someone who has experienced discrimination. Even more concerning, 61% of respondents are concerned about their personal safety and the safety of other Iranian Americans.

Reflecting anxieties over policies that stigmatize the Iranian American community, President Trump's Travel Ban continues to face strong opposition in the Iranian American community with more than three quarters (76%) saying they are opposed to the policy. More than half of Iranian Americans (53%) say that the ban has prevented attendance at family events (weddings, funerals, graduations or gatherings for family emergencies like illnesses.

With respect to the rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran, sixty-four percent (64%) are worried that military conflict is now more likely than not. More than six in ten (62%) would oppose military strikes against Iran. The opposition to or indecision about such an action is rooted in concern about the potential civilian casualties (83%) and the belief that strikes will be ineffective and encourage Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

Promoting human rights and democracy in Iran (54%) continues to be the most important issue for the Iranian American community related to U.S.-Iran relations. Allowing Americans to invest in Iran to create employment opportunities for the Iranian people (38%) remains the second most important issue, while preventing military conflict (27%) and promoting regime change (25%) follow closely in importance.

When asked which outcome of the current administration's maximum pressure policy seems more likely, almost two-thirds (63%) believe the renewed sanctions will harm the Iranian people and increase support for hardliners' anti-American sentiment.

"Given the ongoing tensions between the two countries, it is not surprising that the U.S.- Iran relationship has become the most important issue for the community, rising above domestic issues and becoming the number one consideration for Iranian Americans when voting in federal elections," said PAAIA's Executive Director, Leila Austin. "However, when contemplating priorities and goals, the community desires deeper political participation within the United States, including electing Iranian Americans to public office and increasing the capacity of the Iranian American community to influence policy."

PAAIA's annual surveys are integral to better understanding the Iranian American community, as the only poll of the community that has an on-going collection of accurate scientific data.

PAAIA commissioned Zogby Research Services (ZRS) to conduct this telephone survey of Iranian Americans.

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